Caitlin Ross is a typical Southern California teenager, obsessed with clothes, boys and how she looks. Her younger brother Luke is out of control, getting into trouble shooting paint guns at people and obsessed with his violent DVD's and video games. Kathryn, Caitlin and Luke's mother, is too busy popping pills to have any hope of controlling them. Their father, now living a long way away, is too busy with his own new life.
Suddenly Caitlin's mother announces that because they are so out of control, the three of them are spending the summer on the isolated North Carolina island of Outer Banks. Caitlin and Luke have no choice but to go along; their father doesn't want to get involved and Kathryn controls the purse strings. Once they all arrive on the island, the resort hotel they were heading for turns out to be a desperately rundown and understaffed old hotel, owned by an old school boyfriend of Kathryn's. They immediately start to rekindle the old romance and Bill continues to feed Kathryn's addiction to pills and alcohol, but there's something even more creepy about Bill.
I confess I had some serious problems with this book, and it's very possible I was not the right person to review it. For a start all of the characters were way too stereotypical and bland. There were also some very hard to believe goings on. Caitlin and Luke flee the hotel and go to stay in the trailer of a young girl Caitlin has met on the island. Kathryn makes no attempt to contact them / find out what is happening with the children that she cared enough about to take away to see if they would straighten out, and only in the final chapter there's an attempt to explain that away. There is a murder, finally, but the story climax occurs in a massive hurricane which overtakes the island - with lots of people rushing around outside in the middle of the storm and some very big attempted twists in the plot. Caitlin and friend are ultimately rescued and then the Coast Guard shows up to take them to medical help because they "were out looking for a small airplane"... in a hurricane! The other unsatisfactory element was the final chapter, wrapping up of all the loose ends and explaining the up until then, unexplained. I'm not a fan of those types of resolutions.
As the blurb describes the book as "Laguna Beach meets Cape Fear" this could be a book that would appeal to fans of rapidly moving, big picture thrillers.